Red Bank officials take first step toward banning single-use plastics

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Municipal officials in Red Bank have taken the first step toward banning single-use plastic and polystyrene products by businesses in the borough.

During the Red Bank Borough Council’s workshop meeting on July 3, Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who is the liaison to the Environmental Commission, said an ordinance concerning the matter would be introduced during the next Red Bank Borough Council meeting on July 24 at 6:30 p.m.

The new law, if adopted, would prohibit businesses in Red Bank from distributing items such as plastic bags or polystyrene containers to customers who purchase certain goods.

Exemptions to the ban would be noted in the ordinance, Triggiano said, adding that pre-packaged meat and medical supplies that have been packaged in polystyrene, for example, may be exempt from the new law.

The law would prohibit “point-of-sale single-use” plastic and polystyrene, Triggiano said. Plastic drinking straws would be provided to customers only upon request.

If the ordinance is adopted, business operators would have a one-year grace period to use up their existing supply of plastic and polystyrene products, Triggiano said.

“I have not received one negative comment from the business community” about the proposed ordinance, she said.

Triggiano also explained that “food vendors and festivals should be held to the same standard.”

Resident Amy Goldsmith, who is the state director of Clean Water Action, said, “I’m really thrilled my hometown is joining the 25 other towns that have passed ordinances (banning single-use plastic products). While it’s long overdue, I think the delay has been good because as we keep moving, towns are passing better ordinances.”

Clean Water Action organizes grassroots groups and coalitions, as well as campaigns to elect environmental candidates to solve environmental and community problems, according to the organization’s website.